Flagship Pentecostal University Celebrates Centennial

(Courtesy: Lee University/Office of Publications)

On Jan. 1 of this year, Lee University began a year-long commemoration of its 100th birthday, recognizing the snowy day on January 1, 1918, when a dozen students and one teacher opened the first day of Bible Training School.

It's not everyday someone, or something, turns 100. With the milestone comes reasons to celebrate, and Lee University is rightfully claiming as many opportunities as possible to tell their Lee story in many events and venues.

This week is the culmination of weeks of planning by Lee University staff, alumni and volunteers, led by Centennial Committee Chairman Dr. Jayson VanHook. The efforts show, particularly in the magnificent display that dominates the entrance to the Exhibit Hall, including an 8-foot seal of the university. Lee has invested in several ways this week to send the message that Lee University is proud of its heritage and poised to enter its next century.

Throughout this year, Lee has been ramping up its centennial celebration events, which have included student-led programs, community concerts and tours, and banners hung throughout the campus.

In addition to the display in the Exhibit Hall, Lee University's presence has been felt throughout the week, culminating in an alumni mass choir, which ministered in the evening service this week. Hundreds of alumni, whether they were in a musical group while they were students or not, participated in the choir led by Delton Alford, Danny Murray and Brad Moffett.

Afterwards, hundreds more alumni attended a reception in the Valencia Ballroom.

VanHook stated the Centennial Committee has focused on six keynote events, including the activities of this week. At their exhibit, which features multiple panels that tell the history of Lee, there are giveaways, including lapel pins, T-shirts and books. In the hallways all week are "Centennial Ambassadors" who have so far given away commemorative CDs of music, cookies, stickers and on Thursday, bookmarks. A book titled High Callings, which profiles the journeys of 26 Lee professors, was released last month in time for the assembly.

Aug. 1 was another milestone as Dr. Paul Conn marked his 32nd year as president of the university. It was on August 1, 1986, during the centennial year celebration of the Church of God at the General Assembly in Atlanta, that Conn received the official appointment as president from the Church of God executive committee. His appointment came following then President Lamar Vest's election to the executive committee. Conn had been serving as vice president.

"This centennial year has been a wonderful reminder of how many people have been touched by Lee," stated Conn. "In so many generations, the message is the same: Lee matters in their lives. That is so inspiring and motivating to me!"

The culmination of the centennial year will be an event simply titled, "Celebration 2018," scheduled for Nov. 2–3, 2018, on the Lee campus.

This article originally appeared in the Church of God publication TODAY.

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